Fair Trade Judaica Products Wow the Crowd

Despite the autumn’s first rain and a shortage of parking spots due to an outdoor festival, over 200 enthusiastic people attended Fair Trade Judaica’s 1st annual Fair, on Sunday 10/17 at the Jewish Community Center-East Bay in Berkeley. Participants included a young woman seeking a fair trade tallit for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah, several girls excited to find kosher fair trade Chanukah gelt, parents and grandparents shopping for Chanukah presents for family members, and young adults looking for Judaica products to express their Jewish identity at home.

Many products were available for the first time, including new papel picado (papel picado) Chanukah and Mazel Tov banners, handwoven tallit sets, and silver pendants.

The Judaica products reflected the skills and designs of fair trade artisans and farmers from around the world, including Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, and Thailand. “I honestly didn’t expect the products to be so well made” was another comment heard throughout the afternoon.

The most popular items were the new Jewish spiritual papel picado (paper cut) banner from Casa Bonampak, Global Exchange’s brightly colored wooden menorahs, MayaWorks’ new tallitot, Mayan Hand’s Shabbat v’Yom Tov (Sabbath and Holiday) challah cover , Partners for Just Trade’s new turquoise hamsah pendant , Global Goods Partners’ variety of kippot , Divine Chocolate’s Chanukah gelt (as well as all their delicious chocolate bars!), and Fair Trade Judaica’s Jewish Blessing Flags.

Visitors drank coffee and tea donated by Equal Exchange and Guayaki, and noshed on delicious chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies from Eat Pastry’s cookie dough made with fair trade certified ingredients.

Our fair’s co-sponsors, Be’chol Lashon, Hazon, Progressive Jewish Alliance, and Pursue (a joint project of AJWS and Avodah), provided information and inspiration about their work.